Public transportation in the United States is a crucial part of the solution to the nation’s economic, energy, and environmental challenges - helping to bring a better quality of life. In increasing numbers, people are using public transportation and local communities are expanding public transit services. Every segment of American society - individuals, families, communities, and businesses - benefits from public transportation.
Public Transportation Consists of a Variety of Modes
- Trolleys and light rail
- Commuter trains
- Cable cars
- Van pool services
- Paratransit services for Senior citizens and people with disabilities
- Ferries and water taxis
- Monorails and tramways
- In 2017, Americans took 10.1 billion trips on public transportation.
- 34 million times each weekday, people board public transportation.
- Since 1995, public transportation ridership has increased by 30% - a growth rate higher than the 22% increase in U.S. population.
- People board public transportation 35 million times each weekday.
- Public transportation is a $68 billion industry that employs more than 420,000 people.
- More than 7,700 organizations provide public transportation in the United States.
- 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.
- Millennials consider public transportation as the best option for digital socializing and among the best for connecting with communities.
Public Transportation Provides Economic Opportunities
- Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.
- Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates more than 50,000 jobs.
- Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
- Every $10 million in operating investment yields $32 million in increased business sales.
- 71% of public funding for public transportation flows to the private sector, creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- Home values performed 42% better than when located near high-frequency public transit.
- Hotels in cities with direct rail access to airports raise 11% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.
Public Transportation Is a Safer Way to Travel Than by Automobile
- A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90% simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.
- Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.
Public Transportation Saves Money
- The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
- A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
Public Transportation Reduces Gasoline Consumption
- Public transportation's overall effects save the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
Public Transportation Reduces Carbon Footprint
- Communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation's carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.
Public Transportation Enhances Personal Opportunities
- Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life.
- Access to public transportation gives people transportation options to get to work, go to school, visit friends, or go to a doctor's office.
- A total of 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy.
- Of all riders, 71% are employed and 7% are students.
- More than two-thirds of riders walk to their stop or station.
For more public transportation facts, see the Public Transportation Fact Book.